November 2011 Arab World Ministries (AWM)
The Arab world region is in limbo. Two (mutually exclusive) trends seem to be developing in the protests. While many cry out for a more secular state, others seek to pursue a fundamentalist Islamic agenda. We may have to wait months before people can vote and new governments take shape.
Regardless of what flavour of regimes takes charge, the Bible urges us to pray all kinds of prayers for those in high office – even thanksgiving ones! This command is even harder to stomach if we are aware of a state’s attempt to stamp out gospel witness.
We do well to note that ‘no government’ is a fearful prospect for a society. The Scriptures also remind us that God’s ways are not our ways.
As we continue to see the changes being brought about by the ‘Arab Spring,’ pray for those in current or emerging governments.
Pray also for:
• the safety of Christians in Arab states, especially remembering the Coptic Christians in Egypt
• Sue Brown who has recently retired officially from AWM, but is working voluntarily to archive their records
• our former mission partners Amanda and David Stephens, as they seek to witness to Arabs in Oxford. (Amanda also spent 3 weeks of April in Afghanistan, using her dentistry skills there!)
October 2011 Tearfund
Environment and climate change
Tearfund is working on climate change because extreme weather patterns hit the poorest people hardest. Poor communities across the world tell us they are already feeling the impacts of changes to their environment.
Unpredictable rainfall means more droughts and more floods. More droughts mean a greater risk of famine, more floods mean greater destruction of homes and livelihoods, and the potential for infectious diseases to race through the population.
The bible tells us that ‘love does no harm to its neighbour’, yet the way we live now harms our neighbours in poor countries. Tearfund is campaigning to convince world leaders to take drastic action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help poor countries adapt to the devastating impacts of climate change.
So as we contemplate filling in our Pledges at the end of our ‘Going for Green’ series, remember even if individually we only make three small changes in our life styles it can add up to make a difference. Go for it!
September 2011 UCCF – The Christian Unions
University and Colleges Christian Fellowship
Living for Jesus and speaking for Jesus – Christian Unions exist to give every student in Britain an opportunity to hear and respond to the love of Jesus.
This is the time of year when new students are heading off to college for the first time. This in itself is a life changing experience. Pray that for many this year it will be because they have come to know Jesus.
For other students, usually in their second or third years, the year will be an opportunity for them to help in the leadership of the Christian Union. This frequently leads on to serving God through the rest of their lives.
• ‘Forum’ – 5th-9th September – a special training opportunity to equip Christian Union Leaders
• Students you know who are starting college – including Sarah Pike, who is off to Cambridge.
August 2011 Crosslinks
Confrontation is continuing, as the Shouwang church in west Beijing, continues to meet, in the open air, for its Sunday service. Many of the leadership team, including four pastors and three elders, are confined to house arrest. The number of people turning up to the outdoor venue has dwindled as members of the highly educated and influential church face consequences in their personal lives. Some church members have lost their jobs or rented homes or both.
- Continue to pray for freedom to worship for all Christians in China.
July 2011 Church Pastoral Aid Society
Falcon Camps are fun-packed, unforgettable, Christian holidays for 8-18s. They are especially designed for children and young people who face disadvantage in their day-to-day lives.
Please pray for the following camps both with connections with St C’s
- Lee Abbey Camp 13-19th August leader John Fryer
- Ringsfield Camp 24-30th July leaders Jo and Mark Brown
June 2011 Arab World Ministries
Media commentators are struggling to keep up with the pace of change and define the revolution sweeping across the Arab World. Some things are clear though. The movement is a genuine people-led one; the region has been changed forever.
Only God knows what the future holds for the Arab World and so we must continue to trust in His sovereignty and power – whether the new era is marked by peace or persecution.
• that the changes will take place without major loss of life
• for those in new and emerging governments
• for the witness of local believers
• that many Arab people will trust in Christ.
May 2011 Focus on China
Having seen formerly “stable” governments toppled by mass movements in Egypt and Tunisia, China is reacting strongly to any hint of a revolution.
The recent roundup of more than 100 Chinese worshippers trying to hold an outdoor prayer service in Beijing suggests that the government crackdown on activists, bloggers and intellectuals has extended to Christian groups.
This latest incident comes at a time when the Chinese authorities appear to be putting pressure on all kinds of real and potential opposition to the government. Tens of thousands of uniformed and plain-clothes police have been deployed to disperse any potential crowds.
The Christians arrested belong to the Shouwang ‘house’ church. It has about 1,000 members, and has been meeting in the open air, since facing difficulties in finding a permanent meeting place. Until last month, worshippers met in a restaurant, but this venue was closed and since then the church has made three attempts to rent a new venue – all of which have been blocked by the government. Church leaders sought to reassure officials that their gatherings pose no threat to public security.
Give thanks that the church in China continues to grow despite opposition and pray for that God will raise up a new generation of leaders to see the fast-growing church in China established and strengthened.
April 2011 – Church Pastoral Aid Society
This year CPAS is celebrating 175 years since its formation in 1836. It was founded by prominent Christians, including the pioneering social reformer Lord Shaftesbury. It was established as a Christian response to the massive social change brought about by the Industrial Revolution. What had been small village churches now found themselves with the new urban poor on their doorsteps.
The new charity resourced these churches to cope with these changes, through giving them grants to enable them to employ extra members of staff. Their aim was simple: the gospel should be taken ‘to every person’s door, with a single eye to the glory of God’.
Over time, of course, the work of CPAS has developed. But nonetheless the vision of their founders still burns strongly. Like them, CPAS believes in resourcing leaders – both lay and ordained. Like them, they want to see the church equipped to cope with rapidly changing social circumstances. Like them, they want to see the gospel find its way to everyone’s door.
Pray for CPAS as it continues to resource and equip the church in its work to reach people with the gospel.
March 2011 – Tearfund
Each night around the world, one person in every seven goes to bed hungry.
Think of people you know in your life (if it helps write them down) – for example someone in your family, a close friend, a neighbour and so on.
When you get to the seventh person, stop…
How do you feel when that person is suffering?
We’re one in Christ. We are one church – one body. So when one of our brothers or sisters in Christ is suffering because of hunger, we all suffer.
The Millennium Development Goal on hunger aims to halve the number of people living with hunger by 2015. Keep on praying for our world leaders that they will honour their commitments to reach this and all the Millennium Development Goals.
Time is ticking away very fast and with the global recession and so many people suffering from natural disasters in 2010 and 2011, this is getting to be a very difficult target.
Tearfund’s own goal is to lift 50 million people out of poverty during this time.
February 2011 – The Trichy Link (Alison Roche)
On 12th Feb, twelve lively 16-25 year olds are heading off, matching tee-shirts on, to visit the ecumenical Diocese of Trichy-Tanjore in the State of Tamil Nadu, South India. They and those of us leading include Anglicans, Methodists, Baptists and those who really don’t want a label other than Christian. It is the first group of young people to visit since the link was set up in 2002 and they are SO excited!
The purpose of the visit is not to ‘do mission’ – we are visiting our Christian sisters and brothers to share with and learn from each other.
Like us in Leicester, worshipping Christians are in the minority in India, and the next largest faith group in both places are Hindus. We will do a lot of travelling (it’s about 7 hours’ ride avoiding potholes and cows in the road from end to end of their diocese) to visit churches and project and youth groups.
We will spend time with those who are rebuilding their lives in the coastal villages since the Tsunami, and those who make their living picking tea in the mountain villages, whilst in the city of Trichy, the young people are on Facebook and get their sim cards from the Nokia shop.
The purpose is not to take aid, or teach our friends anything, but to help us to see our own faith in a new perspective: ie to encounter God at work in a new context, not just a Western, British one. If we’re open to the Holy Spirit, in my experience, this always challenges but enlarges our understanding and relationship with God and I feel privileged to have the chance to go again, but also to accompany young adults like Hayley Gask on this adventure. Do look out for our feedback events when we get back.
January 2011 – UCCF: The Christian Unions
Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship
UCCF has started the New Year in a new town. After thirty-four years in Leicester, they have moved to Oxford.
Oxford is the seat of the new atheism that pervades university culture up and down the country, and fuels an anti-Christian secularism that can be very discouraging to Christian students. UCCF wants to be at the heart of the battle for ideas, training students to defend and present a compelling gospel and to be able to live and speak for Jesus within this changing landscape.
Additionally, a move to Oxford will allow for greater collaboration between IFES (International Fellowship of Evangelical Students) and UCCF that will be of benefit to mission in Great Britain and throughout the world.
Unfortunately, the building that had been identified as the preferred option fell through last summer, but another excellent option is being pursued.
Over the next year, UCCF don’t just want to maintain their ministry impact – they want to grow and develop it. They are currently involved in planning for more than ninety missions. These will take place on campuses around Great Britain, many during the next term.
• UCCF and their workers as they settle into a new town
• missions which will take place this term
• those leaving UCCF and facing a new start in Leicester.